Books from a Graduate Symposium

When Poindexter Coffee opened off the lobby of the Graduate Providence hotel (formerly the Biltmore, 11 Dorrance St, PVD) in May 2019, its interior included literature as part of its aesthetic.

Vintage hardcovers crisscross both sides of the fireplace, leaving guests a chance to thumb a classic edition of This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde and Sons by Pearl Buck or browse outdated tomes on physiology and law.

The overall style, if not the specific touches, runs across the chain of hotel cafes: the Poindexter at the Graduate in Bloomington, Indiana fills coffee mugs with No. 2 pencils; in Eugene, Oregon, historic texts line the shelves alongside retro Nike shoeboxes; and in Lincoln, Nebraska, throwback cereal boxes adorn the ceiling like a collage of comic covers.

Besides the fireside accompaniments in Providence, a collaboration with Symposium Books (240 Westminster Street, PVD) puts a limited selection of contemporary reading for sale at the counter. Over the holidays, the picks for purchase featured best-sellers Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments and Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore.

“We have new books all the time,” said general manager Sasha Giboyeaux. “We even feature children’s books. It really comes in handy when you’re traveling and want to read your baby a bedtime story.”

And if a good book doesn’t succeed in getting everybody down to sleep while in town, Poindexter serves all-you-can-eat cereal and a morning pick-me-up from Narragansett roastery Dave’s Coffee or Durham, North Carolina mainstay Counter Culture Coffee starting at 6:30am daily.

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